Sweat, Guts, and Glory: The History of Professional Wrestling

November 10, 2017 at 4:32 am Ron Mullinax

Ultimate Truth about the Unique and Controversial History of Pro Wrestling


Professional Wrestling


History of Professional Wrestling

Professional wrestling historians point out that the sport we know today can trace its roots in France during the 1830s. It started as circus sideshows where strongmen challenged members from the audience to take them down to the mat. Famous strongmen during those times were Edward the Steel Eater and Gustave d’Avignon the Bone Wrecker. Their stunts proved to be very popular with the audiences that, ten years or so after these shows started, wrestling became headliners for circus shows and even all-wrestling troupes represented by Jean Exbrayat started touring in 1848. Exbrayat and his troupe developed techniques that became known as Greco-Roman wrestling in Europe.

However, the professional wrestling that we know and love today developed and formed by the twentieth century. Performers started challenging in time-limited grappling matches. As Greco-Roman wrestling spread in popularity in Europe, then-champion Georg Hackenschmidt traveled to the United Kingdom to fight and demonstrate the new sport.


Professional Wrestling in America

American professional wrestling is said to have started in the 1860s. Just like in Europe, wrestlers started as strongmen in circuses. As their grappling acts became more popular, they started competing in staged wrestling matches against each other. To hype the shows, wrestlers dressed in elaborate costumes and adopted fake names and invented fake background stories for their characters. Pro wrestling waned during the 1910s because audiences started complaining that the matches were all fake or staged. Regardless whether professional wrestling is real or fake, it cannot be denied that wrestlers were athletes. And, today, professional wrestling is considered a multibillion-dollar industry.


How to Become a Pro Wrestler

Fan of pro wrestling? If you want to know how to get into professional wrestling, then read on and be informed. The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) only recruits wrestlers from college wrestling programs or other athletics program such as college football. If you have no experience in those programs, you should start joining independent promotions such as Ring of Honor, Dragonforce, New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Global Force Wrestling, and others. Get your reps in with these promotions and climb the rank.

Because independent promotions pay less and shows are regional, it would be your best interest to hit the road and join as many shows and promotions as you can. During these shows, you must work hard to market yourself. Make your own merchandise and sell it to your fans. Create highlight reels of your fights and upload them to social media. Your next step would be to try out for the WWE or other major wrestling promotions. Visit the WWE website and look for the Careers page. The promotion posts job vacancies for production, writing, and, sometimes, for talent. If you are lucky enough, you will be sent to NXT where new wrestlers are trained. Make sure to separate yourself from the crowd and shine. Remember, pro wrestling is not only a sport; it is also an entertainment business. They need someone who will stand out and shine to become the next wrestling superstar!


Pro wrestling has come a long way. Today, there are many pro wrestling organizations from around the world that put up televised and live shows. Where do you see professional wrestling years from now? Do you think this spectacle will continue to be popular in the coming years? Comment below and share your thoughts on pro wrestling with me on my social media sites. Don’t hesitate to send me a message or visit my Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads pages. You can also check out my book about my favorite pro wrestler—Fritz Von Erich: Master of the Iron Claw.



Graceffo, Antonio. T. R. 2014. “The Historical Development of Western Wrestling – An Overview (Antonio Graceffo).” Wrestling Roots, October 12. Accessed October 16, 2017.

Wrestlezone. n.d. “The Most Important Events in the History of Professional Wrestling.” Wrestlezone. Accessed October 16, 2017.

Marsfelder, Josh. June 2014. “Advent of the Angels: An Introduction to the History of Professional Wrestling.” Eruditorum Press. Accessed October 16, 2017.

Frierson, William. 2014. “You Want to Be a Pro Wrestler? Here’s How to Start Your Career in Professional Wrestling.” College Recruiter, August 19. Accessed October 16, 2017.

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